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Guns in Canada
07/01/2004

Two articles in today's Globe and Mail reminded me of something I wrote more than a year ago on this blog.

In one article, it is reported that Paul Martin's government is reviewing the expensive and controversial gun registry program.

Another article reviewed this year's gun murders in Toronto, and included the comment that "most handguns come from the United States -- primarily Ohio, Texas and Kentucky. After the firearms cross the border, gang members obtain them without much trouble."

Well, it sounds like nothing has changed for the better since I wrote about this last January. However, since Paul Martin is undertaking a review of the gun registry program, perhaps there is an opportunity to make things better.

As a liberal who supports gun control, I have no problem with the idea of the gun registry in principle. However, there do seem to be some problems in practice. First, it is overly costly. More important, it doesn't seem to address the real problems with guns in Canada.

Here's what we need to do:

  1. Fix the border. All the talk is about the risk of terrorists attacking the United States from Canada, but there has never been a successful incident. On the other hand, dozens of street murders annually can be attributed to guns being brought illegally into Canada from the USA. Is anyone doing anything about this? We all know it is very easy to drive across the border into Canada.
  2. Increase penalties for gun crimes. Criminals should be thinking twice about including guns in their misadventures. If we catch you with a gun, taking you off the street for a while is good for everybody.

Imagine what a billion dollars could have done if they were spent this way, instead of on the registry.


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